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I often hear references to the "uncreated God", citing passages such as Psalm 90:2 "from everlasting to everlasting you are God".

What is the specific meaning of the word "create" in the above phrase, according to various denominations that employ it (or attempt to refute it)? What is an overview of doctrines held by the various denominations about the meaning of this phrase? Does the word "create" in this context have an unambiguous, rigorous and identifiable meaning according to such doctrines, or is it assumed the hearer automatically knows what specifically it is and isn't intended to mean? What is that meaning?

Bonus: How does this relate to the meaning of the word "create" used in Genesis 1:1?

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    The orthodoxly Christian understanding of the one true God who created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1) is that he was not created. He created everything but was never created himself. That's what "uncreated God" means in orthodoxly Christian circles. Of course, those who believe in more than one God/god are inclined to think of the God of Gen.1:1 having been created himself by his own 'father' god, who was also created by a previous, older god, ad infinitum. Not so much a case of turtles all the way down as gods all the way down. Such believers won't understand 'uncreated God'.
    – Anne
    Dec 28, 2023 at 18:03
  • As a side note, "God" in the picture en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… of the Sistine Chapel, has a navel, so cannot be God, as it is not allowed to have an image of God. I'm new here, so please correct me if I'm wrong. Dec 31, 2023 at 21:46
  • @GyroGearloose There is no passage in the Bible that says that God cannot have a belly button. Are you aware of one?
    – pygosceles
    Jan 1 at 1:02
  • A belly button is a strong indication (not a proof) that the person was born as a child of a mother, thus in some way is created. By the way, do you know of any physical description of God in the Bible? Jan 2 at 0:37
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    I'm some kind of speechless, as somewhere I remember to have read that seeing the living GOD is to die. Give me some time for research. Jan 2 at 22:11

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What is the specific meaning of the word "create" in the above phrase, according to various denominations that employ it (or attempt to refute it)? What is an overview of doctrines held by the various denominations about the meaning of this phrase? Does the word "create" in this context have an unambiguous, rigorous and identifiable meaning according to such doctrines, or is it assumed the hearer automatically knows what specifically it is and isn't intended to mean? What is that meaning?

It has the normal meaning of the word in English. God was not created, whether by someone else, himself (somehow?), or by spontaneous chance. God was not made. God has no beginning, no inception, no development.

From this we also say that God is not dependent or contingent on anything or anyone else, nor does he have a cause. God simply is.

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In Proverbs 8:22-36, and really for much of Proverbs 1-9, Solomon personifies wisdom. Personification is a literary device where a writer gives personal characteristics to a non-personal entity, such as in this case to an abstract noun. Wisdom is an abstract noun personified as a woman because the Hebrew word for wisdom is feminine.

In this section of Holy Writ we learn that wisdom is eternal. The eternity of wisdom is expressed in different ways. First, wisdom is distinguished from the creation, which is temporal. Wisdom is “before [Jehovah’s] works of old” (v. 22). Wisdom was set up “from the beginning, or ever the world was” (v. 23). Wisdom was brought forth “when there were no depths… when there were no fountains abounding with water” (v. 24). Wisdom was there “before the mountains were settled, before the hills” (v. 25). Second, wisdom is “from everlasting” (v. 23) and before the mountains. In the Bible especially the mountains are viewed as being ancient and immovable, existing before countless generations. If something is before the mountains, therefore, it is viewed as eternal or everlasting: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth or the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God” (Ps. 90:2).

Solomon, by expressing that wisdom is before the creation, distinguishes wisdom from the creation. In other words, wisdom is not a creature. Wisdom is the attribute of Jehovah God, by which he rules, decrees, and forms his eternal counsel. Jehovah can no more be separated from his wisdom, than he can be deprived of his power or his omnipresence. Therefore, it is false to suggest that Jehovah’s wisdom came into being in an act of his creative power, as if God could be for a time without his wisdom. Indeed, Solomon does not use the standard Hebrew verbs for creating, making, or forming when he describes wisdom. In verse 25 the mountains are “settled,” where the verb means “sunk down” or “planted.” In verse 26 the earth was “made.” No such thing is said of wisdom. Three verbs are used of wisdom. First, “the Lord possessed me” (v. 22), where “possess” has a wide range of meanings. The basic meaning of “possess” is to get, acquire, and even to purchase or buy. One can possess by various ways: by purchasing, by obtaining, by adopting, by redeeming, or by begetting. For example, about Cain Eve exclaims “I have gotten a man from the Lord” (Gen. 4:1). The New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses renders the verb as “produced.” However, the verb does not mean “to create” or “to produce.” Second, “I was set up from everlasting” (v. 23). The idea is to install into a position of power. Psalm 2:6 contains this verb: “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” Again, the idea is not creation. Third, “I was brought forth” (vv. 24, 25). The idea of this verb is to twist or writhe, and thus to bring forth as in childbirth. This fits with the truth that the Son, who is Jesus Christ and the wisdom of God, was begotten, not made.

The eternity of wisdom, and the truth that wisdom is not a creature, is important. It lends authority to wisdom’s voice speaking in the chapter. The wisdom of Proverbs 8 is not a creature, nor a human philosophy or opinion, but eternal, uncreated wisdom. Ignore wisdom at your peril!

Eternal, Uncreated Wisdom - The Protestant Churches of America

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